Within the last week I got a lot of new blogs submitted to the critique, so I thank you all for helping me keep this series alive. With the increased amount of interest this series is getting, after much debate I decided that I will go through with offer blogging consultations outside this blog. I will get into more detail about that service at a later date, but just be advise that’s going down.
I read all the blog submissions and try to pick blogs that are dealing with new issues that haven’t really been addressed yet with these critiques. I took the time and renamed all the previous blog critiques, to make it easier for you to find common problems that all bloggers seem to be dealing with including promoting engagement, increasing page views, and building a credible brand within your niche/industry. I offered some lovely tips and techniques that you could apply to your own blogs and brands. If you’ve gone through all the posts and still have an issue that hasn’t been addressed, by all means.. please submit your blog for submission. Let’s move right along to today’s critique.
Illustration + Lifestyle Blog
Brooklyn based illustrator, Brittany Holloway-Brown, finally submitted her blog for critique after months of deliberation. Although she’s fairly ‘new’ to the blogging community, she’s had her blog for quite some time now. This year she made a resolution to put not only herself, but her art out there more and start networking with other fellow artists. Although she’s confident about her blog post imagery, she submitted her blog for a critique to get my advice on the overall design of her blog and most importantly, what she can do to increase her presence on social media as she feels her skills are lacking. Well Brittany, you’ve come to the right place.
When I first land on your page, I absolutely love what I’m seeing. Clean, minimal with beautiful illustrations that add splashes of color to a subtle color palette. All vital information, including your contact info is above the fold so kudos. I’m absolutely loving your post Dark Girls Pt. 2, and definitely feel like when you get back to blogging for the year you should incorporate more of your illustrations into every.. single.. post.
Because they are absolutely amazing. You have a lot of wonderful things going on on the blog so far, but let’s address your concerns.
I feel like the design of the blog and my social media skills are lacking.
Let’s address the latter concern first.. your social media skills. The first thing I do when I find an illustrator is check out their Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I do this because I expect it to be full of with their illustrations, showing the world their skills. So that was the first thing I did with you. I hit all your social media profiles and wanted to scream. Scream! Your illustrations are absolutely amazing… so why on the Earth haven’t you saturated your social media profiles with your work? Especially Instagram. As a creative, I feel we should implement the ABC’s into our daily life. ABCs = Always Be Creating. You’ll be surprised at just how fast you can get a following on these networks just by sharing the work you love to create.
Now, honestly, I’m in the same boat as you. I don’t share my design work nearly as much as I should on the social networks I’m apart of. If it wasn’t for my blogs, you probably wouldn’t know I was a designer because my digital footprint doesn’t really show that. For the past few months I had got so caught up in the blogging world that I wasn’t designing as much as I should be outside of work & freelance projects. Nor was I promoting myself as much as I should be. So I have a challenge for us both.. let’s work to change that. If I were an amazing illustrator, here’s how I would utilize my social networks:
- Set up a daily challenge on Instagram. I follow several illustrators on Instagram, and the one thing I appreciate is that they share what they’re doing daily. From rough sketches to finished illustrations, they let their followers get to see their daily progression. I think this is something you should try. Everyone knows quotes are a popular thing on Instagram, why don’t you give it a shot a daily lettering quotes like you did with your Affirmations post. Each morning for my natural hair blog, I do a handwritten daily motivation called #DearQueen, the response I get from just sticking with this is amazing. Trust me. It’s worth a shot. Instagram is such a visual place, it would be crazy to not saturate it with your awesome work.
- Make your own Illustration Board on Pinterest. Whether it’s a board where you throw all your post or just a board for your illustrations, you need to make sure you have something on Pinterest with your illustrations. You’d be surprised just how much traffic you can pull in from Pinterest. Pinterest is the #2 traffic driver to my natural hair blog from this one pin alone. So start your board TODAY.
- Tweet with your illustrations. Whether your promoting a new blog post or some new work, you can now add images to your tweet to appear inline on your follower’s feeds. Take full advantage of this. People are more likely to click on tweet links that include an image.
- Guest post for bigger blogs. With your unique illustration style, I definitely can see you pitching unique post to fashion & beauty blogs that falls along the lines of your Dark Girls Pt. 2 posts. Don’t do a guest post if it does not include your illustrations. Anyone can write, your unique angle is your illustrations. Use that to your advantage.
- Open up a shop with your illustrations. To further get my name as an illustrator out there, I’d open up a Society 6 store. You literally just create art and it can be put on anything from canvas to throw pillows to clocks. You make a little percentage off each piece you sale. Although I don’t like how much money Society 6 takes from a sale, it is a great starting place to get your name off the ground and get the word out there. You can share your products with other blogs thus further promoting you and your illustrations.
I feel this is a great place to start with getting your social media presence off the ground. Share your talent with everyone. As far as designs, here’s some solutions I suggest.
- Develop a better color scheme. Ditch the gray. With your colorful art, I think it would be nice to see more of the deep purple you use as your logo as post headers. It will make the titles stand out way more than they currently do.
- Add a touch of your illustration to each and every post. My favorite posts on your site are the ones in which you include your illustrations. I’d return religiously to your site to see what you’ve illustrated next. Use this skill to your advantage. With all the blogs out there, you have to make sure yours has some sort of edge that stands you apart from all the rest of the blogs out there. Your edge.. your illustration.
- Play around with some CSS. There are some tiny tweaks you can do to make things pop a little more. Aside from changing the color of your post headers, you can try center aligning both the title and dates to make for an easier reading flow.
The Overall Critique
Overall, Brittany you have a wonderful site thus far. I’m such a fan of your illustration style and hope that today’s critique gave you the boost you needed to get active on your blog and your social media networks again. The biggest thing you should take away from today’s critique is that you have to use your illustration skills to your full advantage. Saturate the Internet with your beautiful designs. I’d love to see what you do with your blog in the near future. I hope this critique helped today.